The third teenager charged over the death of Canberra real estate agent Peter Keeley has admitted kidnapping him but now won’t face a trial later this year as the murder case against him has been dropped.
Peter Keeley died after being lured into bushland near the NSW coastal town of Broulee on 2 February 2020 where he was assaulted by three 17-year-olds who were charged with murdering him.
However, after facing a trial earlier this year, the first and second teens were acquitted of the murder charge, with NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Walton finding it was likely that the 56-year-old died from the methylamphetamine in his system.
But the pair did plead guilty to an aggravated kidnapping charge, admitting they detained and assaulted him.
The third teenager was not part of their trial and had been scheduled to face one of his own later this year.
But on Tuesday (19 July), he appeared in court and also pleaded guilty to an aggravated kidnapping charge, admitting he and the other two detained Mr Keeley without his consent to assault and humiliate him.
Crown Prosecutor Nerissa Keay said she was not continuing with the murder charge against the third teen and asked to vacate his trial date that had been set for November.
She also asked for the three teens to be sentenced together, which she estimated would take one day.
Justice Walton fixed the date of 24 August for sentencing, but the court also heard some scheduling issues involved in the process could cause it to be delayed.
A costs hearing will also take place in September.
While agreed facts were tendered to the court covering the third teen’s actions, they were not immediately available so Region was not aware of what facts he pleaded guilty to.
However, in Justice Walton’s judgement for the other two, he said the first teenager used the gay dating app Grindr to “lure” Mr Keeley from Canberra to Broulee with the “promise of a sexual encounter”.
The teen then saw the second teen and they discussed a plan, allegedly with the third boy as well, to tie up and bash Mr Keeley outside town.
Mr Keeley and the third teen met up and drove into bushland where the second teen, and allegedly the third, came out of the bush.
Justice Walton said Mr Keeley’s wrists and ankles were tied, his mouth was covered with packing tape and he was assaulted.
The person who discovered Mr Keeley’s body and called Triple Zero took a video, screened to the court, that showed him lying on his side in the bush near his car, dressed in blue.